[ faculty in the press ]

Willie Ruff is called a “legend in his own time” at Arts Council Awards

ruff-willie_artscouncilawardZip06.com | By Amy J. Barry, Correspondent

Willie Ruff, a world-renowned jazz musician and educator who has lived in Branford for more than 30 years, is a “legend in his own time,” says Cynthia Clair, the executive director of the Arts Council of Greater New Haven.

During the Arts Council’s annual awards ceremony earlier this month at the New Haven Lawn Club, where Ruff was the recipient of the C. Newton Schenck III Award for Lifetime Achievement in and Contribution to the Arts, Clair pointed out that Ruff, who attended Yale School of Music as an undergraduate after serving in the Army, performed internationally for 50 years with the late pianist Dwike Mitchell. The duo shared the stage with such jazz icons as Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and Sarah Vaughan and is credited with bringing jazz to new audiences around the world, most notably in the Soviet Union in 1959 and China in 1989.

“Among the many things I find fascinating is Willie speaks seven languages,” Clair says. “And he brought the jazz greats of our time to New Haven over the past 30 years. Through the Duke Ellington Fellowship [that he established], he not only introduced them to New Haven audiences, but took them into New Haven Schools.” MORE

Published December 18, 2015
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[ in the press ]

YDN: Jazz pioneer receives lifetime achievement award

Photo by Harold Shapiro

Photo by Harold Shapiro

Yale Daily News | By Maya Chandra

Yale School of Music professor Willie Ruff ’53 YSM ’54 was presented with the C. Newton Schenck III Award for Lifetime Achievement award at the Arts Council of Greater New Haven Friday.

Arts Council Executive Director Cindy Clair said Ruff’s national prominence as a jazz figure, his lengthy teaching career and his work with the Duke Ellington Fellowship program — an initiative that brings world-renowned jazz musicians to Yale and New Haven Public Schools -— made him an excellent candidate for the award at the Arts Council’s annual Art Awards Luncheon this past weekend.

Ruff, who played the French horn and double bass alongside pianist Dwight Mitchell for more than 50 years, accompanied Duke Ellington, Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie and other world-famous jazz musicians throughout his roughly 60-year career. But despite rubbing shoulders with the biggest names in jazz and being a leader in the genre, Ruff, who joined the Yale faculty in 1971, remains down-to-earth and high spirited. MORE

Published December 7, 2015
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[ in the press ]

Willie Ruff among Greater New Haven Arts Council honorees

Willie Ruff

Willie Ruff

New Haven Register | By Joe Amarante

There’s something special about the art of Susan Clinard, who is quick to point out that there’s something very special about art in general — as a powerful tool for self- and world-awareness. Wood sculptor Clinard, who has created a notable body of work in her artist residency at Eli Whitney Museum and Workshop, will be one of six people and organizations honored at the annual Arts Council of Greater New Haven Awards and Luncheon Dec. 4 at the New Haven Lawn Club.[…]

The Arts Council has been host to the annual Arts Awards for three-plus decades. And speaking of long commitments, the C. Newton Schenck III Award for Lifetime Achievement (and Contributions to the Arts) will go to Willie Ruff, an accomplished and Yale-educated jazz musician who has also served the community as an educator at Yale, writer (about classical composer Paul Hindemith, who was a teacher of his at Yale, and about his experiences with jazz composers Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn) and ambassador (his Mitchell-Ruff Duo was the first jazz band to play in the Soviet Union and China). MORE

Published December 1, 2015
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[ students + alumni ]

Ian Tuski honored with Yale-Jefferson Public Service Award

Tuski teaches in the New Haven Public Schools

Tuski teaches in the New Haven Public Schools

Ian Tuski ’15 MM is to be honored with a Yale-Jefferson Public Service Award. The awards recognize those who inspire the Yale community through innovative, effective, and sustained service for the greater good.

The Yale-Jefferson Public Service Awards were launched in 2012 by the Association of Yale Alumni, Students and Alumni of Yale (STAY), and the Jefferson Awards for Public Service. Three awards are now given each year: one to a Yale undergraduate, one to a graduate/professional student, and one to an alumnus. MORE

Published November 19, 2015
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[ music in schools ]

Yale recognizes Music in Schools Initiative with Linda K. Lorimer Award

2015.10.28 LKL AwardOn Oct. 28, President Salovey and Linda K. Lorimer presented 35 Yale staff members representing nine key initiatives with the Linda K. Lorimer Award for staff excellence and distinguished service to the university.

Salovey noted that the employees’ unique and important contributions represent the true sprit of Yale: innovation, leadership, teamwork, commitment, and exemplary service.

The staff members of the School of Music’s Music in Schools Initiative — Michael Yaffe, Rubén Rodríguez, and Kate Gonzales — received the award for their work connecting Yale with the New Haven community. The President’s citation reads:

By teaming to develop the innovative Music in Schools Program, they have reinforced Yale’s connections with the New Haven community and earned us national recognition for this model of cultural leadership.

In his letter of nomination, Dean Blocker said that –

The evolution of this venture, especially under the watchful eyes of Michael, Rubén, and Kate, has been extraordinary. And the enthusiasm, hope, and joy seen in these children and their families have united the many diverse populations of New Haven. In the closing concert of the Morse Academy this summer, Sprague Hall was almost filled to capacity with parents and friends who only two or three years earlier had not entered the campus, certainly not to see their children on an international stage.

Read the full list of 2015 Linda K. Lorimer Award winners here.

Published November 3, 2015
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[ students + alumni ]

Charles Richard-Hamelin wins silver in Chopin Competition

charles-richard-hamelinCanadian pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin won silver at the prestigious 17th International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, Poland. He also won the prize for the best performance of a sonata.

First place went to Seong-Jin Cho of South Korea; American Kate Liu took third.

This year’s competition featured over 75 young pianists from 20 different countries. During the three weeks of the competition, the pianists played only Chopin’s works before a 17-member international jury.

In its 88-year history, the Chopin competition has gained a reputation as one of the world’s top piano events, opening international careers to young pianists. MORE

Published October 21, 2015
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[ faculty ]

David Lang named Chevalier of France’s Order of Arts and Letters

David Lang, composer

David Lang, composer

Composer and YSM faculty member David Lang ’83 MMA, ’89 DMA has been awarded the insignia of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication. The award was announced late last week.

Lang was awarded the insignia alongside Tim Griffin, executive director of The Kitchen, on October 16 at the Payne Whitney Mansion in New York. Bénédicte de Montlaur, the French Embassy’s cultural counselor, presented the award, which was created in 1957 to recognize those who have contributed to the furthering of French art.

A professor of the YSM composition faculty since 2008, David Lang’s music has been performed by major musical, dance, and theatrical organizations throughout the world and have earned him numerous accolades including the Pulitzer Prize for music. He is also know for his work as co-founder and co-artistic director of contemporary music collective Bang on a Can, which has toured widely in France. Lang often collaborates with French choreographers like Maud le Pladec and Benjamin Millepied, and has contributed to French art projects and installations at the Fondation Cartier and the Raymond Raymond Poincaré hospital.

MORE ON DAVID LANG

Published October 19, 2015
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[ alumni ]

Gregory Spears ’02 MM wins Carlos Surinach Commission

spears-gregoryThe BMI Foundation has announced that composer Gregory Spears ’02 MM is one of two 2015 winners of the Carlos Surinach Commissions. The commissions program funds the creation of new works by former winners of the BMI Student Composer Awards for premiere with leading contemporary orchestras, chamber music groups, and classical soloists throughout the nation.

Established in 2003 through a bequest from the late composer Carlos Surinach, the Commissions are often awarded in partnership with Concert Artists Guild (CAG). This year, two CAG Victor Elmaleh Competition winners who have demonstrated a commitment to performing the work of living composers were selected to each choose a former BMI Student Composer Award winner to receive the Commission. Trumpeter Brandon Ridenour will premiere Spears’ forthcoming double trumpet concerto during the 2016–2017 Concert Artists Guild series at Carnegie Hall. MORE

Published August 10, 2015
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[ students + alumni ]

William Gardiner wins American Composers Forum National Composition Contest

gardiner_williamComposer William Gardiner ’13 MM, ’15 MMA has been named one of three winners of the 2015 American Composers Forum National Composition Contest. The winners were announced by the American Composers Forum in partnership with the Los Angeles-based new music ensemble wild Up. The members of the ensemble selected the three winning composers from a pool of 450 applicants.

The winners each receive a monetary prize and are currently finishing their pieces, eight to ten minutes each, for wild Up to perform this September at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT). American Composers Forum will also host two open rehearsals with wild Up and the winners at LA City Colleges’ Clausen Recital Hall. MORE

Published July 8, 2015
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[ board of advisors ]

League of American Orchestras awards Gold Baton to Anne-Marie Soulliere

Mark Volpe presents the Gold Baton to Anne-Marie Soullière. Photo by Nannette Bedway

Mark Volpe presents the Gold Baton to Anne-Marie Soullière. Photo by Nannette Bedway

Anne-Marie Soullière, a member of the Yale School of Music’s Board of Advisors, was awarded the Gold Baton at the League of American Orchestras’ recent conference.

Soullière is the retired president of Fidelity Foundation. Her relationship with the Yale School of Music began in 1970 with a secretarial job and has grown immensely since then: in addition to serving on the Board of Advisors, she is also a member of the Battell Stoeckel Trust, the fundamental source of support of the Yale Summer School of Music/Norfolk Chamber Music Festival.

The Gold Baton, the League’s highest honor, was presented by Mark Volpe, managing director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Volpe cited Soullière’s “lifetime of passionate support for music, enlightened leadership of the Fidelity Foundation, and wise, sympathetic counsel to numerous musical leaders.”

Robert Blocker, dean of the Yale School of Music, said: “Anne-Marie has been and remains a dynamic advocate for music.  We are most  fortunate to have her wisdom and vision as a charter member of our Board of Advisors.” MORE

Published June 25, 2015
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